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Autodesk unveils Maya, 3ds Max, Mudbox & MotionBuilder 2015

Ashleigh Allsopp | March 20, 2014
Complete with loads of new 3D animation features, the software will be available from 14 April.

Autodesk has just announced the 2015 update to its Entertainment Creation Suite including Maya, 3ds Max, Mudbox, MotionBuilder and the soon to be discontinued Softimage, with new features aimed at its wide range of customers working in the film, television and games industries. There's also a new version of the recently released Maya LT software for indie games developers.

What's new in Maya 2015?

Autodesk's 2015 update for Maya aims to simplify complext tasks to allow artists to be more efficient.

Among the new features that Autodesk has introduced for this purpose are new simulation systems including XGen and Bifrost.

XGen (below) is a technology that has been widely used by leading animation companies such as Disney and Pixar on feature films including Frozen, Tangled and Toy Story. It's used to generate curves, spheres or custom geometry on the surface of a polygon mesh, resulting in realistic hair, fur or feathers, for example, or to populate large landscapes with greenery, rocks and debris.

The geometry is created procedurally by XGen at the time of render so artists can handle large amounts of instance data that would normally slow down a system if it were loaded into memory instead, Autodesk's Senior Product Marketing Manager Rob Hoffman told us.

Meanwhile, the Bifrost Procedural Effects Platform, which was developed based on Maya technology, has been refined for ease of use. It's been built into Maya and allows artists to create realistic renderings of liquids.

Modelling in Maya has also been improved and enhanced in the 2015 version. There is now Geodesic Voxel Binding (shown at the top of this article), which is a skinning method for binding geometry to joint skeletons. It's designed to enable artists to produce high-quality results quickly, and can handle really complex geometry containing overlapping components and more.

Autodesk has also added support for OpenSubdiv (above), which are open sourced libraries from Pixar that will allow artists within Maya 2015 to represent their subdivision surfaces using the OpenSubdiv technology. It means much faster draw performance thanks to the use of parallel CPU and GPU architectures, too.

As with 3ds Max, Maya 2015 now has ShaderFX for real-time shade editing using a click and drag system.

Additionally, Maya 2015 has new relax and tweak features for retopologising high-resolution meshes to simplify them and make them easier to work with, as well as a new interactive edge extend tool, a new library, and enhancements and extensions for bevel tools.

What's new in 3ds Max 2015?

3ds Max has also received an update, which Autodesk says aims to provide greater performance to enable artists to create better realism within their work. Several new features have been introduced to help achieve this.


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